Sunday, August 20, 2017

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The Resort Developers Association (“RDA”) and its members are committed to following the highest ethical and operational standards in the campground, resort, vacation, and recreation industry for the mutual benefit of the public, the industry and member developers. To demonstrate that commitment, RDA has adopted this Code of Ethics. All RDA members agree to comply with this Code as a condition to continued membership in RDA, and/or continued use of RDA’s services.

I. ETHICAL STANDARDS

A. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

1. Applicability

This Code applies to any and all resort, vacation, or recreation industry activities of any kind (“Industry Activity”), and is applicable to regular and associate members of RDA, as well as to non‑members to the extent they utilize any RDA services (including advertising in RDA publications and exhibiting at RDA trade shows). Whenever the term “Member” is used in this document, it shall mean RDA developer members, associate members, and non‑members utilizing RDA services. All Members shall also be accountable and responsible for ensuring that their principals, owners, officers, salespeople, marketers and other employed or contract agents or brokers, and related, controlled, or successor firms of Members, fully comply with this Code.

2. Compliance with Laws

All Members must comply with all federal, state, and local (and, when applicable, international or other non‑domestic) laws, rules and regulations. In the event any such law, rule or regulation directly conflicts with this Code, the more restrictive requirement shall control. However, if a provision of this Code is specifically prohibited by such law, compliance with such provision shall not be required.

3. Compliance with Reciprocal Programs and Membership Contracts

a. Reciprocal Programs - All Members must fully comply with the rules and regulations of any and all reciprocal programs with which they are affiliated.

b. Membership Contracts and Hosting - All Members must fully comply with their contractual obligations to the members of their resort, and provide high quality resort and recreational facilities and services to their members and reciprocal program guests.

4. Information, Descriptions and Disclosures

a. General - Information, descriptions, or disclosures made to the public in connection with Industry Activities (whether oral, written, or graphic) must be clear, accurate, consistent with one another (sales presentations, for example, must not conflict with sales literature or transaction documents), and if written, the information, descriptions, or disclosures must be conspicuous, easily readable and in language easily understandable by the public.

b. Specific Requirements Regarding Resale or Value - Member shall not represent in any manner that membership at Member’s resort, or membership in a reciprocal program, is being sold or purchased as a financial investment.

c. Specific Requirements Regarding Reciprocal Use Programs - Reciprocal programs and all other programs in which other-location use rights or privileges of any kind are offered in the marketing or sale of a membership must be represented accurately, clearly, and realistically given the specific program, by providing written information prior to execution of sale which includes:

i. A statement that the resort member’s contract with the reciprocal use organization is a contract separate and distinct from the contract with Member; that the reciprocal program is being offered as a secondary benefit; and that the resort member’s primary reason to purchase should be to use the Resort.

ii. A statement that the resort member’s ability to use the reciprocal program is dependent upon resort member’s continued membership in and good standing with Member’s resort;

iii. A complete and accurate description of the terms and conditions of the resort member’s contractual relationship with the reciprocal program, including all limitations and restrictions, used in the operation of the reciprocal use program;

iv. The fees, or range of fees where appropriate, required of the resort member, and the circumstances under which such fees can be imposed and increased.

5. Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements - Statements made by or through Member to the public in connection with Industry Activities:

a. Must not convey false, untrue, deceptive, or misleading information through statements, testimonials, photographs, graphics; and

b. Must not omit material information without which the solicitations or sales information would be deceptive or misleading, or which would affect consumer decision-making.

B. MARKETING REQUIREMENTS

Member shall fully comply with all Federal, State and local laws with respect to marketing and promotions. Member shall not engage in any marketing or promotions that have the capacity to materially mislead or deceive the consumer.

C. SALES REQUIREMENTS

1. Membership Contract

All terms and conditions of the membership must be accurately, clearly and conspicuously described in the membership contract (which includes all documents given to the consumer), using easily understandable terms. The membership contract must be consistent with the information and disclosures provided in solicitations and sales presentation; must be available for the consumer to review adequately at time of sale, before signing; and must comply with all Federal, State and local laws, rules and regulations, including without limitation financial disclosures and right to cancel disclosures if required.

2. Disclosure and Description of the Resort

The resort and its facilities and amenities must be accurately presented, and must be accessible and usable for the claimed purposes. Incomplete or planned improvements of the Resort are not to be presented to consumers, unless Member shall provide a schedule based on reasonable estimates of completion dates; and satisfy the RDA upon prior to making such representations that Member is financially capable of completing such improvements.

3. Fees and Other Payment Obligations

Member must accurately, clearly and conspicuously disclose the current level of annual maintenance fees, all other payment obligations of consumer, and the formula by which they may increase.

4. Limited Time Offers

Representations must not be made that there is a limited time for the consumer to accept the terms of an offer if in practice such is not the case.

5. Rescission

If rescission rights are provided consumers, there shall be a clear and conspicuous written disclosure at or before closing of the material terms and conditions of such rescission rights, including the time limits to exercise such rescission and the specific procedures by which such rescission can be exercised.

D. “GUARANTEED” RESALES

Member shall not offer any benefit for sale to resort members which offers to or “guarantees” that Member will sell the resort member’s interest in the resort.

E. NOTIFICATION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATIONS

Member agrees to immediately notify RDA of any legal action (which legal action does not include mere referral of a consumer complaint or inquiry) initiated by the State Attorney General’s Office (or similar governmental prosecuting agency) against Member. Member agrees to provide RDA with all information relevant to such prosecution or civil action, and RDA shall have the right, but not the duty, to intervene on behalf of the industry and its Members.

II. ENFORCEMENT

A. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE AND INDEMNIFICATION

1. The Ethics Committee; Chairman

RDA’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) shall appoint 3 RDA Members to serve 3 year terms as members of the Ethics Committee (the “Committee”). Members of the Committee may serve no more than two consecutive terms. The Board shall appoint one member of the Committee to serve as Chairman.

2. Indemnification and Insurance

All Committee members and RDA staff and other individuals engaged in investigations related to, or enforcement of this Code shall be indemnified and defended by RDA against liability arising from such activities, and RDA shall also seek to maintain indemnification insurance against such liability.

3. Liability

Member expressly recognizes and agrees that RDA (and that of any Committee member, RDA employee, or other individual or entity engaged in investigations related to, or enforcement of, this Code) has no liability to Member in the event Member’s membership is terminated or suspended, or for any other matter arising out of, or related to, Member’s membership. Under no circumstances shall RDA be liable for any special or consequential damages incurred by Member. Member agrees to pay any attorney’s fees incurred by RDA to defend any action brought by Member seeking damages arising out of, or relating to, Member’s membership.

B. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS

1. Preliminary Review

Upon notification from any source of a potential violation of this Code, RDA’s administrative staff shall notify the Member of the potential violation, with as much particularity as is reasonably possible, and ask for a response. A written summary shall be provided to the Committee Chairman. (Note that violations alleged by resort members shall be considered by RDA only if they present, in the sole discretion of the Committee Chairman, a pattern of business practices to which the Code is applicable. It is RDA’s general policy to not investigate, mediate, or redress individual consumer complaints.)

2. Preliminary Disposition

The Committee Chairman shall decide, in his/her discretion, whether: (a) the matter should be considered closed, without anything further (because it is meritless, there is insufficient information upon which to proceed, or it is inconsequential); or (b) whether the matter warrants further investigation and/or imposition of one of the sanctions set forth below. In the latter case, such preliminary disposition is reported to the Committee, which will undertake an inquiry to clarify, expand, or corroborate the information gathered, and render a recommendation to the Board.

3. Notice

In event of an inquiry, the Member that is the subject of the inquiry is informed in writing at the beginning of the inquiry as to: (a) the nature of the alleged violations; (b) the obligation to cooperate fully in the investigation of the matter; and (c) the opportunity to request a hearing on the matter before the Committee.

4. Hearing on an Inquiry

The Committee may conduct a hearing, in its discretion, (a) if one is requested by the Member that is the subject of the inquiry; or (b) at the Committee’s own initiative. Otherwise, no hearing need be held. At least thirty days’ written notice of the hearing is given. The hearing is conducted by the Committee except that any Committee member whose business activities are conducted at a location in the approximate area of, or in direct competition with, the Member that is the subject of the inquiry shall abstain. The Chairman may issue any appropriate procedural or evidentiary ruling in the course of the hearing, and may be assisted by legal counsel. The Member that is subject to the Inquiry may choose to be assisted by legal counsel, may refute the results of the investigation and may offer any exculpatory information. Information may be offered through witnesses, who are subject to cross‑examination, and to questioning by the Committee. Any information may be considered which is relevant or potentially relevant. A transcript or recording of the hearing can be made. The official record of the hearing becomes a part of the record of the investigation.

5. Recommendation

Upon completion of an investigation, the Committee will make a recommendation to the Board. The recommended determination (and recommended sanction, if applicable ) are submitted to the Board along with a summary of the record of the investigation.

6. Alternative Disposition

The Committee may at any time offer the Member an “Alternative Disposition” consisting of the opportunity to submit a written “Letter of Assurance” that the activity or violation in question has been terminated and will not recur. The decision of the Committee on whether to offer such an opportunity, and the Committee’s decision whether or not to accept this Alternative Disposition, are within the discretion of the Committee and, ultimately, the Board of Directors. If the Committee’s offer is extended, the Member must submit the required Letter of Assurance within fifteen days of receipt of the offer. The Letter of Assurance must be submitted in terms that are acceptable to the Committee. Member shall not be required to concede or admit failure to comply with the Code.

C. SANCTIONS

Upon review of the summary of the record and the Committee’s recommendations, the Board shall make an appropriate finding. If any Board member fails to respond within 10 days, he or she is deemed to have accepted the Committee’s recommendations. If the Board finds that a Code violation has occurred, it may impose any of the following sanctions (alone or in combination):

1. Warning Letter: The Board may issue a warning letter directing the Member to not engage in activities which violate this Code in the future.

2. Restitution: The Board may require the Member to provide restitution to aggrieved parties, including consumers, as the Committee deems appropriate in its discretion.

3. Fines: The Board may impose a fine on the Member, to be paid to the RDA and used in furtherance of the RDA’s future enforcement efforts of this Code, or otherwise in the Board of Directors’ discretion.

4. Suspension: The Board may suspend the Member’s membership in RDA, and/or participation in any program affiliated with, or sponsored by RDA, for any period of time.

5. Termination: The Board may immediately terminate the Member’s membership in the RDA.

6. Other: The Board may impose any other sanction or penalty it believes, in its discretion, is appropriate. The sanction, in the Board’s discretion, should reasonably relate to the nature and severity of the failure to comply and must serve the purpose of reformation of the business practices of the firm and deterrence of similar conduct by others. A suspended or terminated Member will not be entitled to a refund of their RDA membership initiation fee, or any other money.

Sanctions imposed by the Board shall not bind the RDA to impose similar sanctions on other members for similar future violations, nor in any other way create a precedent or obligation of RDA. Similarly, the RDA’s treatment of other Members, or inability or refusal to fully enforce this Code against other Members, shall not create any obligation of RDA or provide a defense for non‑compliance by any Member. RDA’s failure, inability or refusal to enforce this Code at any time shall not be deemed a waiver of RDA’s right to enforce the Code in the future. RDA may grant exceptions to this Code in its sole discretion. Interpretation and enforcement of this Code shall be in the sole discretion of RDA.

 

Copyright 2017. Resort Developers Association